Flatbush Family Practice

Alford Smith, MD

Family Medicine Practice located in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY

Immunizations are an essential part of preventive health care. Alford Smith, MD, and the team at Flatbush Family Practice, in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, offer a wide range of vaccines for patients of all ages, including flu and pneumonia immunizations. If you or a family member is due for a vaccine, call Flatbush Family Practice or schedule an appointment online today.

Immunizations Q & A

What are immunizations?

Immunizations are a critical preventive health treatment that protects you and your family from dangerous and potentially life-threatening diseases. Sometimes referred to as vaccines, most immunizations are provided during the first few years of life. 

However, many vaccines, such as the DTap (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) shot, are needed every 10 years. There are also some vaccines that you don’t need until later in childhood or adulthood. For example, aging adults might benefit from immunizations for shingles and pneumonia. 

Additionally, most people should have an annual flu shot. 

How do immunizations work?

Vaccines introduce a small, diluted amount of a virus into your body. The vaccine includes just enough of a virus to stimulate your immune system, but not make you sick. Your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the illness. 

Those antibodies stay in your body, and if you come into contact with the virus later in life, your body is prepared to fight it off. As a result, you avoid getting sick and experiencing related complications. 

What vaccines do I need?

The vaccines are provided to infants, and then as boosters when children reach the ages of 4-6, including DTap, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), varicella, and polio. Children can also start the human papillomavirus vaccine series around the age of 12.   

Adults should have the DTap booster as well as immunizations for:

  • Shingles
  • Pneumonia
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Hepatitis A and B

If you’re not sure about what vaccinations you or your child needs, talk to your provider at Flatbush Family Practice for personalized advice. 

Are immunizations safe?

Immunizations are very safe. They go through extensive testing during and after development to ensure their effectiveness and safety before being made available to the public. 

You might have some tenderness at the injection site, but side effects are extremely rare, and there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism.

In fact, vaccines are critical to protecting you, your family, and your community from dangerous diseases. Before the polio vaccine was created in 1955, thousands of children were left paralyzed or sterile, or even died from this devastating disease every year. However, the United States has been polio-free since 1979 because of effective vaccination programs. 

Call Flatbush Family Practice or make an appointment online today if you or any member of your family is due for an immunization.